.@propublica's shocking expose of superrich tax gaming underscores an ugly reality: Soaring inequality is largely the result of *policy choices.*

“Billionaires can defer, defer and defer,” @RonWyden tells me. "No working person can play those games."

@propublica @RonWyden The fact that we tax income and investment returns but not overall worth, and that we tax investment returns at lower rates than labor income, are policy choices we make, not something handed down to us on stone tablets.

We can make better choices.

@propublica @RonWyden The folk theory that distributive outcomes flow from "free" markets has badly distorted our public debate. It has insulated from public scrutiny the *many* ways in which market rules have been restructured to channel income and wealth upward for decades:

@propublica @RonWyden .@RonWyden to me:

“Billionaires can borrow against their untaxed income to fund lavish lifestyles without ever paying what they owe.”

We must “equalize the tax treatment of wages and wealth” and do a “complete overhaul of how we tax income from wealth.”


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More from @ThePlumLineGS

11 Jun

@RepAdamSchiff's office has repeatedly asked DOJ for info on the subpoenaing of Dems' metadata, including what the legal basis is and what prompted the move.

Incredibly, DOJ has refused to answer, a committee official tells me.

New reporting here:
@RepAdamSchiff “We have repeatedly posed basic questions to the department for more than a month, but have received virtually no information."

Intel Committee official tells me DOJ won't divulge legal basis for seeking Dems' metadata and what triggered the decision:

washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/… ImageImage
@RepAdamSchiff Crucial context:

Trump himself called for an investigation into alleged Adam Schiff leaks in early 2020 and early 2018.

That may broadly sync up with the new revelations about the Trump DOJ subpoenaing Dems' metadata.

I have Trump's quotes here:

washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/… ImageImage
Read 4 tweets
9 Jun
There's a deep tension at the core of Biden's European trip. He'll declare the US is prepared to lead the global struggle between democracy and autocracy. Yet we're failing to protect democracy at home, and Biden's urgency about this is unclear. My latest:
Biden has been reading "How Democracies Die" to prepare for making the case for democracy abroad.

As it happens, that book's authors just signed a statement warning that US democracy is in real peril and urging passage of major voting rights legislation:

Given that Biden has been reading "How Democracies Die" to prep for making the case for democracy abroad, I called up @dziblatt, one of the book's authors, to see what he thinks of our current moment.

Really fascinating stuff from Ziblatt here:

Read 5 tweets
8 Jun
New reporting:

The new Senate report on Jan 6 security failures was carefully negotiated to win GOP buy-in, which required minimizing the importance of Trump's lies about the election and the real motive of the rioters, a Dem aide tells me.

Details here:
“To get bipartisan agreement, the language had to be carefully negotiated,” a Dem aide tells me.

The aide recounts how Republicans wanted the minimization of Trump's lies and the motives of the rioters.

I did a close read of those parts of the report:

To be clear, there are reasons we want GOP buy in on this report, since it's mainly focused on improving security at the Capitol.

But what this really shows is that we need a fuller accounting, and it demonstrates exactly why Republicans don't want one:

Read 5 tweets
7 Jun
Manchin's position is unsustainable. He says GOP voting restrictions threaten our "freedom." So what happens when 10 GOP senators don't support *his* solution, the John Lewis act? Dems can't act alone when freedom is on the line by *his* lights? New piece:
In his op ed piece and on the Sunday shows, Manchin lays out three essential propositions. They cannot coexist forever. At a certain point, he'll have to either change positions or admit that his current words have no meaning:

Ira Shapiro, former counsel to Robert Byrd, tells me that if Manchin supported lowering the filibuster threshold to 55, it would be consistent with Byrd's legacy. Byrd backed lowering it from 67 to 60.

This would be consistent with Manchin's principles:

Read 4 tweets
25 May
The right response to Republicans opposing the 1/6 commission is that they're doing this because they're implicated in the crime. Their excuses are entirely unmoored from anything resembling good faith arguments. Here's a rundown of the 5 most absurd ones:
Republicans claim the Jan 6 commission is "partisan."

That's nonsense on its face. But what they really mean is that if the commission doesn't give them absolute veto power over investigative direction, they won't permit for it to be called bipartisan:

Republicans claim the timing of the commission is all wrong.

That's weird. It's been nearly five months since Jan 6. And the commission would submit its report before the midterms get going in earnest.

There is no timing that Republicans would accept:

Read 6 tweets
21 May
Memo to Joe Manchin: McConnell is telling Republicans to oppose the bipartisan 1/6 commission on grounds that it will hurt them in 2022. One party is abandoning democracy. Either Dems will defend it on a partisan basis or it won't happen at all. New piece:
McConnell privately told Republicans to oppose the commission because it's too partisan.

For McConnell, nothing will count as a bipartisan commission unless it is badly hamstrung from focusing on the role of Trump and Republicans in inciting the attack:

washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/… ImageImage
Manchin still hopes 10 GOP senators will support the 1/6 commission.

But what if they don't?

The conclusion will be inescapable:

There can be no accounting into 1/6 that's both bipartisan and also a full and true accounting.

washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/… Image
Read 5 tweets

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